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Author Interview- Jensen Reed

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My author interview today is with the one and only Jensen Reed. She is a remarkable writer and a sweet and hilarious person. She manages a Facebook group called Writing Bad, writes horror, beta reads, and still has time for a personal life. I don’t know how she does it. I am so grateful she allowed me the chance to pick her brain a little bit.

What are you working on now?

I’m at the very end of the first book in my Refuge Trilogy. I’ve written it once already but when I started the second I realized one of the two main characters wasn’t fleshed out enough so I went back in to add more of her.

Tell me about your new release.
I am featured in three anthologies and have another coming out later this year. Shards of Survival is one I edited and published for Writing Bad. My story “Thirsty” is in there as well.
Then my short story “Pancake Spiders” was picked up by Feed Your Monster and is in their newest book, Fangs and Broken Bones.
Most recently, ‘The Closet” was released in Full Metal Horror from Zombie Pirate Publishing on the 15th.

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Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
They can! But I believe it will be harder for them.

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, which would you rather spend the day with, and what would you do?
Ooo. I think Lucky, honestly. He’s the main male character in Ranch (Refuge Trilogy book one) and he’s just funny and charming. Mack, the other main character, takes a bit to warm up to new people because of her anxiety. I would want to go horseback riding with Lucky.

What’s your favorite color? Dark green/ forest green

What is your favorite TV show? Ooo. I like Supernatural, The Walking Dead, This Is Us, Lost In Space, When Calls the Heart, and a few other sappy ones.

Are you a morning person or a night person? I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon because I stay up too late but the kiddos wake me up early. I can’t brain in the morning, I’ve tried.

Where do you get your ideas?
Dreams, people, songs, lines in books, TV shows, basically everywhere. My 5 year old inspired “Pancake Spiders” by saying he wanted to control an army of them.

 

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I really don’t feel like I have an issue in this aspect. Lucky has always been the easiest character for me to write and all my betas seem to love him. (They like his best friend more HA) A lot of my flash fiction is written as a male POV.

List five adjectives to describe yourself.
Creative, tired, funny, supportive, nerdy

Do you believe in love at first sight? I believe in friendship. Or connection at first sight maybe? I think love is something you have to build and it doesn’t happen immediately. One of the main things I subtly drive into “Ranch” is the development of Lucky and Mack’s friendship. Book two, “Refuge” shows it strengthening until the end of the book. Book three, “Rescue” is a whole different thing 😉

Tea or coffee? Coffee or soda. I like New England Blueberry Cobbler coffee and Mr. Pibb soda.

Tell us something you hate doing and why you hate it. Dishes because they’re vile and evil.

If you could take five things to a deserted island, what would you take? Does “Dean Winchester because his brother (or Cas) will always find him” count? No? Okay then, a bunch of 550 paracord, a sharp knife, a water filtration thing, a book about the island, and Survivorman. >_> Survival is my thing. I love it.

Pen or pencil? Depends. Am I doodling? Pens. In colors. Am I writing a list or handwriting notes? A pencil so I can erase my horrible scrawl and try to make it readable.

Does writing energize or exhaust you? Usually it’s very stress relieving for me. It’s my “me” time at night once the boys are in bed.

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How many hours a day do you write? One or two. Not as much as I want but this human body needs sleep. Sigh.

How do you select the names of your characters? I really just pick through names I like. I try to find ones that just feel right for the characters, but in order to do that I have to have a general idea of who they are. I feel like the name really helps shape the character. And to be honest, I can’t remember why I originally named Lucky that. In the very first draft he was just a side character, not the main. When I revamped the story and made him and Mack the main, I created a whole backstory around the nickname. His real name is Braiden.

Does your family support your career as a writer? Yeah, but my friends are definitely the backbone for me. They’re my betas and brainstormers. My supporters and cheerleaders. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them.

Where can we find more of your work?
I have some flash fiction and the start to some of my stories on my blog.

https://authorjensenreed.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authorjensenreed/

https://www.twitter.com/SaGa243

 

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Anthologies to Read

With my new release “Song of the Kelpie” being published in Full Metal Horror in just five days, I’m starting to get more and more excited. I’ve decided to occupy my time with reading anthologies. Anthologies are amazing because each story is different. Each is written in a different style and a different voice by a different author. So even if it has the same theme, like the BlackHearts Anthology, every story is unique. I will name a few of my favorites, some of which I’m in, to get you started on reading some of your own! If you’ve already read them, leave a comment about your opinion on the books.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Scout Media’s Of Words series. If, for some strange reason, you missed one of my billion posts about how awesome these stories are, let me tell you now! If purchased from the Scout Media website, you get a companion CD to go with the anthology. Not a bad price for a CD and a book, if you ask me.

The first of the Of Words series is A Matter of Words. There are twenty-one pretty awesome stories ranging from emotional to scary in different genres. I still have a couple stories in it to read, so I don’t want to choose a favorite, but I’m loving all of them.

The second in the Of Words series is A Journey of Words. With thirty-five extremely incredible stories to choose from, you’re bound to find a new favorite author. I did. Several, actually. There are eight stories which are my absolute favorite. No, I can’t pick one. No, I’m not going to tell you now, I’ll save that for another blog post. Check it out to be as amazed as I was.

The third in the Of Words series is one that I was fortunate enough to be included in, A Haunting of Words. Thirty awesome ghost stories, and not all of them horror, will leave you wishing for more. Honest. After reading a couple of these authors, I had to check out more of their work. There are too many favorites in here to name, but I truly felt honored to be published with such incredibly talented writers.

The most recent in the Of Words series is A Contract of Words. It is every bit as amazing as the first three, from what I’ve read so far. I’m almost halfway through, and loving every story, thus far. There are several authors in here I hadn’t even heard of until this anthology, so I was thrilled to find more writers to add to my long list of favorites.

Another great anthology to check out is Fangs and Broken Bones. I’ve not read this yet, but plan on it as soon as possible. The stories all sound incredible. Plus, at less than five dollars for a paperback, the book is nearly a steal.

Shards of Survival is only ninety-nine cents. How awesome is that? This is a collection of eight flash fiction stories centered on the theme “survival”.

The Collapsar Directive is a science fiction anthology. The first of several from the Zombie Pirate Publishers. There are some great stories in there that will surely get you thinking!

The Mirrors and Thorns Anthology is a fantasy anthology. There are several incredible authors in here, and not one bad story, in my opinion. JM Ames’ story “The Snow Bride” is my favorite, hands down.

Honestly, I could keep going. But I have writing to do and stories to read! So check out a couple of these anthologies and leave some reviews. And if you’re feeling generous, check out some of the anthologies I’m in and leave me some reviews as well! All of my work, novels and short stories, can use some reviews.

Thanks for sticking with me through that! I will be posting reviews on individual anthologies soon, so make sure to check back! Have an amazing week.

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Author Interview – H.C. Bentley

Throughout the past couple months, I’ve got to know H.C. just a bit, and she’s a really good person, and incredible writer! If you attended my book launch party, you would have seen that she stopped by as a guest author and did an amazing job! Her stories sound fantastic, and I personally can’t wait to check out her work! Now on to the good stuff!

What are you working on now?
I am actually working on my first romantic suspense novel. I can’t go too much into it because it’s still early, but I’m excited to see how readers will like it.

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Tell me about your new release.
My latest release was in February. The Misadventures of a Dating Delia is about a woman who made a drunken marriage pact back in college…and now it’s coming back to bite her in the ass! lol Her BFF Bitsy comes up with a plan – Delia’s Dating Plan, to be exact – to help her date her way out of the pact. Only things go really, really wrong. It’s a dating life you wouldn’t wish on anyone! This book was so much fun to write, and I’m really looking forward to writing Bitsy’s story.

What does literary success look like to you?
Being able to write full time, and still pay the bills!

What’s your favorite color?
Not sure I have a particular favorite, but I tend to lean towards earth tones, blues, and grays.

What’s your favorite food?
How much time do you have?? lol I’ve traveled the world with my stomach (seriously, any time I talk about traveling, it always comes back to the food I ate!)

Ideal date night?
Piled on the couch, watching a movie, eating popcorn or pizza. lol I’m pretty simple.

Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m a night owl. Unfortunately, the 9-5 job requires me to function in polite society during daylight hours. lol

Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events?
I do. Most of my events have been local, though I’m hoping to branch out to some bigger ones in the coming year or two.

Any events coming up?
I’ll be at the Spring Author Event at the Hopkins County Public Library-Madisonville in April. The next event won’t be until a book signing for my next release in November.

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Where do you get your ideas?
Usually in the bathtub, driving down the road, or in the five seconds before I fall asleep. 😉 Not what you meant, I know, but it’s the truth! Ha! Most of the time, story ideas flow from things I see or hear, and I tweak it, twist it, until it’s mine.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I actually don’t have many problems writing from a man’s point of view. I guess with my time in the military, where the male-to-female ratio is high, I learned how guys think and act and move.

Music or silence?
Music. Silence makes me batty.

Name 5 favorite movies. Why?
I’m a sucker for a good romantic chick-flick. Romantic comedies are a favorite.
– The Holiday (watch it every Christmas!)
– How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days
– Sweet Home Alabama
– The Age of Adeline
– The Last Holiday

What are your favorite hobbies?
Reading, travel. I’m an artsy-craftsy type, so I paint, draw, letter. Let’s just say I love Hobby Lobby but my debit card cries when I enter the store!

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Not really. I think you have to get to know someone to love them. Now, lust at first sight? Definitely. 🙂

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
What The Hell Just Happened?

Tea or coffee?
This is a tricky one. I need coffee for survival (not mine, but everyone else’s), and I’m a southern girl, so there’s always sweet tea. And I drink hot tea in the winter (cinnamon apple spice…yum!)

Pen or pencil?
Um…computer? lol Okay, so if I have to choose between the two, it’s a pen for me.

Do you write by hand or type?
Type. I type pretty fast, and my handwriting’s terrible. lol Though I do jot down paragraphs at work if I need to, just so I don’t lose the words or ideas floating in my head.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I’d say it’s more of a relaxation. I can get the story out of my head, where it’s probably been circling for hours (or even days). Once it’s down on paper or in a doc, I can let it go and not stress about it anymore.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I actually do write under a pseudonym. 😉

How many hours a day do you write?
Not as many as I’d like, due to the day job and family at home. I try to squeeze in an hour or two at night, and binge on Sundays and Mondays when I’m off work, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

How do you select the names of your characters?
You’re going to laugh, but if I don’t have any names come to mind, I grab a baby names book off the shelf at work. Usually does the trick in generating ideas.

Does your family support your career as a writer?
They do, even though most times it’s just a thing that’s there. It’s like my second job, so it’s not much of a big deal for them anymore. Not to say they’re not proud of what I do but writing and books are pretty commonplace in my house so it’s not anything anyone other than me thinks of on a daily basis.

Where can we find more of your work?
I have all the blurbs, info, buy links (US and international) on my website. hcbentley5.wixsite.com/hc-bentley
Plus, I’m pretty much all over social media.

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Author Interview – A.L. Mabry

Today’s author interview is with the amazing A.L. Mabry, who is doing a book tour for her Darker Daze collection. Though I haven’t read any of her published short stories, I’ve poked around her website for a bit and fell in love with her writing! She has a couple excerpts posted and I have to say I am very intrigued and feel like I need to read more! I can’t wait to check her out.

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Tell me about your new release.
Darker Daze is a collection of dark fiction that began as a self therapy exercise. Each story touches on uncomfortably dark situations and you will dance with the underbelly of the human condition. I am a graduate of the school of hard knocks, a survivor of domestic violence, and was sexually assaulted repeatedly as a child. I never let these experiences make me bitter or break me (all the way) but those dark emotions and putrid memories stir. When they do, I pour them into dark fiction. The stories are short because I prefer not to wallow. I hurt, I write, I heal.

What is the first book that made you cry? The first book to every break my heart was Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. To this day I remember that devastating feeling and the realization that characters felt so real to me. I was already a reader but that sealed my love of the written word.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? I don’t think there is an exact answer either way. Ego, like many personality traits, is subjective. Some people build entire careers on ego and charisma alone. Some people build loyalty with self depreciation. Some of us have low self-esteem and put up a facade of fake confidence. There is an art to ego and the balance is a learned skill mostly.

What’s your favorite color? My favorite color is blue. I love it in any hue although I favor a nice Cyan.

What is your favorite TV show? I am a die hard Buffy fan. I rewatch all seven seasons at least once year and I can hold entire conversations using only Buffyisms.

Are you a morning person or a night person? I am a bitch before coffee. Like seriously. I can be the sweetest person you’ll meet but try to ask me question or conversate with me as soon as I open my eyes? That’s a nope. I am a night owl, for sure. I feel much more productive and creative at night when the house is quiet and no one is demanding my attention or servitude.

How did you begin writing? I have always been a writer. I was in the young author’s Guild in elementary, junior high, and high school. When I became a mom at a young age and pursued early childhood education, all my writing was in the field. I wrote poems, songs, and little stories as well as lesson plans and eventually curriculum. Later, I took to blogging and joined the leagues of special needs mommy blogs. I found a community and support I was so desperately needing in life. From there I found a fiction writing prompt or two, then a fiction writing community (The Red Dress Club) and I met Stephanie. The rest is history and here I am!

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What are you working on now?
I am currently finishing up two short stories. The first one, Cinder Baby, will be in this year’s OWS anthology titled Glass and Ashes. It follows the tale of a young girl forced into the arms of a wretched prince. The second short story, Not Wonderland is one that will be available on my Patreon page and later will be added to Volume Two of Darker Daze. I am also working on rewrites for Soul Purge, the first book in my Chthonian Guardian Trilogy. That one releases this October.

 

If a fan wanted to send you mail, where can they send to? Like presents? I love presents! Fans can write me or send fan art, etc to: A.L. Mabry c/o OWS Ink, LLC 1603 Capitol Ave. Suite 310-A428 Cheyenne, WY 82001.

Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events? I want to! I will actually be attending my first book con in July! I will be at the Lexington Legendary Book Bash in Lexington, KY.

Music or silence? Music. I listen to music nonstop and I have a playlist for every need.

Name 5 favorite movies. Why are they your favorite? So, these five movies I considered to be in the same category as comfort food. The Notebook. The Wizard of Oz. Gone With the Wind. The Age of Adeline. Pay It Forward. Each of these movies I can watch over and over and I love sharing with others. They speak to my soul on different levels; speaking on love and ignorance. Pain and compassion. Imagination and finding one’s self.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I do. The very first day I saw my husband I *knew* I would marry him one day. It was a very strange thought because I had already decided I was done with relationships and I planned on him and I being FWB. We have literally lived under the same roof since the day we met.

Tea or coffee? I love both. Usually I’m coffee until 3pm then I switch to tea.

Tell us something you hate doing and why? I hate cleaning my bathroom. Why? One word: boys.

Do you write by hand or type? I prefer to type most of my writing. I have fibromyalgia and my wrists give out after a short bit of writing. I do, however, prefer to handwrite my poetry until it is almost completely polished, then I type it up and finish it.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I did consider this at one time, but I have quickly learned that I do not like compartmentalizing myself. I prefer to just throw it all out there and claim it. I do, however, use my initials versus my full name because I once read that certain genres favor male writers at first glance and a feminine name could block off potential readers.

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How do you select the names of your characters? I don’t understand this question. I don’t come up with their names, their parents do. They just tell me what they are…

Does your family support your career as a writer? They really do. And they would probably argue over who is my biggest fan, given the chance. My husband reads everything I write and pesters other people to read it too. He never complains the nights he falls asleep alone because he knows I am weaving tales to entertain and delight.

Where can we find more of your work?
My website will be constantly updated (http://authoralmabry.com) and all of the books I have a hand in are listed on my Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/A.L.-Mabry/e/B010FLI6X6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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Author Interview – William Thatch

If you don’t know who William Thatch is, it’s time you learn. He is an incredible author who has a brilliant future ahead of him! I’ve read two of his published short stories and plan on reading the third as soon as it’s released. He is one of the funniest people I know, so I hope you enjoy his interview as much as I did. He’s one of the best writer’s I’ve had the privilege to know, so I hope you check out some of his work. 

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

There is such a thing as a healthy ego. On some level you have to have enough of an ego to know your work is worth promoting, but there have been many young writers who automatically believe they’re amazing and you can’t tell them there is anything wrong with what they’ve written. I exhibited and continue to exhibit a humorously over the top ego among the Of Words authors, and without that I’m not sure I would have had the gall to submit to A Journey of Words in the first place.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I sure as hell hope so. If not I’ve slipped by the Emotion-O-Meter three times already. If sociopaths can learn to imitate human emotion to look normal, surely a someone with difficulty feeling things can write about them as well.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

If I’m honest, it was just within the last few weeks. And nothing to do with fiction. It just hit me one day, when viewing certain political discussions going on, how just having the wrong word or term or phrase can lead to someone having the wrong thoughts on the wrong discussion and that leads to the wrong conclusions. Our thoughts are only as good as the quality of language we use.

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, which would you rather spend the day with, and what would you do?

Ugh, do I have to spend time with any of them? I mean I’m sure there’s some decent ones, but I really don’t want to be around people if I don’t have to. (Yes, that’s the ticket, Thatch. Tell everyone you’d rather not interact with them). Social media is about as close as I can be and still feel comfortable, but there’s days where it isn’t comfortable.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night time, no harrowing accidents where the sun might accidentally touch my alabastor skin. Morning is for the birds and pedophiles. It’s a fact. It’s in the Bible. Somewhere in the back. Don’t check, just trust me.

If a fan wanted to send you mail, where can they send to?

WilliamThatch@hotmail.com — I also accept hate mail. Or mail intended for someone else. I’m not picky.

How did you begin writing?

I got my start at about age five or six, I can’t recall. It was a fanfic about Bert & Ernie of Sesame Street with the typical holiday story. “Someone might not make it home for Christmas–wait, they did!” Self-illustrated. Expect to see it win a Nobel Peace Prize some day. You heard it here first.

Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events?

Unfortunately I don’t have the means to travel anywhere to do things. I keep wanting to meet up with the Of Words authors on the yearly get togethers that are planned, but they keep scheduling it in places other than the field across the dirt road from where I live. I keep telling them they’re selfish, but no one listens to me.

Any events coming up?

I will hold the first ever signing on the moon. Gotta pay your own way there, donate enough to build both the rocket and convention center, and then pay an absurdly high but fair price.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

For me, personally, it’s that there are some radically different experiences between genders that I won’t ever truly experience. Getting your period and not being prepared or being hounded by cat calls. Obviously things like that don’t make up all there is about the female gender, but I worry I’m not understanding the existence of the characters enough.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

The Netherlands. I personally don’t interact with them enough to be bothered if I sacrifice them all for my own personal advancement.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Just get started writing earlier. I started at the age of five or six, but there were significant gaps between that and doing more frequent writing in my teenage years. Other than that, I’m not sure. I played a game with some friends for about fifteen years that required weekly writing on a fixed schedule and honestly that did a lot to just put the work in on getting better. Without thinking about it or worrying about it I ended up getting a lot of solid experience in writing action scenes and dialogue.

What’s your favorite love story? (movie or book)

I’m going to cheat a little and say the novelization of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, based on the video game. Edward Kenway is a man who becomes a pirate in hopes of landing a big enough haul of money to provide a better life for his wife and soon-to-be child. While he’s off in search of these riches, he learns she has filed for divorce. I like a story of someone trying their best and failing.

You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?

The Jackdaw. It was the name of Kenway’s ship in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

If you could take five things to a deserted island, what would you take?

A good book, something by J.K. Rowling. A fancy hat, something to shield my eyes from the sun. A trunk full of fresh water and canned food. A rubik’s cube, something to challenge my mind… Also, the yacht from earlier. I mean, there’s no restrictions, so I can take that and easily get back to civilization for survival.

Do you write by hand or type?

I type. Interestingly, I type using only my right hand. I was afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand, so it hurts to type. And from there the left arm is now saddled with tennis elbow and a pinched nerve in my back that affects the shoulder.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I pay careful attention to the flow of the name when spoken and to the imagery it invokes. Ollie Pinkerton invokes the imagery of someone in the Dustbowl era. And you don’t want to have two super long names–Johnathon Winifred Worthington III–for anything other than a joke. As pointed out in an episode of Frasier, the name Jack Crane is bad because of the two back-to-back hard C sounds. There’s a lot to it, but it usually starts by finding a name I like and finding another name I like that pairs well with it and, at the very least, doesn’t invoke an image I don’t want.

What are you working on now?
Oh, gosh. That’s a loaded question. I can work on something for a month and then switch gears to work on something else for two weeks, come back to the first, then off to a third, and so on. On the docket right now is a set of four short stories linked by a cursed briefcase but involving different characters and settings in each. If I wanted to get into all I’m working on, I’ve got a sequel to a novella in the works, a television dramedy pitch, and a novel that continues the journey of the Good Man from my first publication The Highway (available in A Journey of Words available on Amazon.com!).

Tell me about your new release.
For Science! (available in A Contract of Words available at Scoutmediabooksmusic.com and soon at Amazon.com) is about a totally humble man who answers an ad to find the Champion of Science. The doctors will induce a medical condition known as “death” and while “dead” our amazing, humble protagonist must explore the afterlife so when he is revived he can report on what the afterlife is like. Wacky hilarity ensues.

Where can we find more of your work?
The Highway can be found in A Journey of Words, available on Amazon.com and Scoutmediabooksmusic.com.
A Wacky, Fantastical Misadventure in New Haven can be found in A Haunting of Words, available on Amazon.com and Scoutmediabooksmusic.com.
For Science can be found in A Contract of Words, available on Amazon.com and Scoutmediabooksmusic.com.

 

 

 

Check out his Facebook page as well!

Stay Tuned…

March is one of my busiest months this year. My short story “Collapse” has been published in the BlackHearts Anthology, free to read with kindle unlimited, by the way, and “Southern Kisses” has been published in Flashpoint. Second Time’s the Charm is set to release in four days. I have written two short stories this month, began plotting a novel, and started editing another novel.

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BlackHearts Anthology is a short book with several stories about twisted romance. My story “Collapse” is about a woman living in the psychiatric ward after her family died in a bridge collapse. After several years of grieving, she’s finally found herself falling in love again, with her psychiatrist.

7F29E1C4-2BF2-4161-B0EA-8AE13DC44B2CFlashpoint Anthology features a collection of flash fiction of many genres, so there is something for everyone. My story “Southern Kisses” is a story about a woman named Abby who had fallen in love with a black boy who worked for her father around 1900. When she comes home from college, she meets up with him again, wanting to rekindle the spark they once had.

I have one story set to release next month. On April 15th, my story “Song of the Kelpie” will be released in the anthology Full Metal Horror. So if you enjoy monster stories, make sure to check out this anthology. “Song of the Kelpie” tells the tale of what happens when you pass by a legend when you’re alone. A kelpie has the power to transform from horse to man, luring victims to their death.

28535305_10211941912764476_1073588567_nI’ve been going on and on about Second Time’s the Charm, but if you haven’t read yet, it’s a romance novel about a woman who meets an Englishman at the Ohio State Fair and falls almost instantly. He’s handsome and charming. She has unresolved problems with her ex to work through while co-parenting their fifteen year old son, and discovers her new love is a bit of a mommy’s boy with past anger issues. Pre-order your copy for the entire tale!

Reviews are extremely important to authors, so if you’ve read any of these stories, or any of my previous stories or novels, please try to leave a review. The more reviews, the higher the rank in amazon, meaning the more people see it.

None of these stories are appropriate for children. If you’re on my page looking for a story for your teen, check out The Altered trilogy.

Thanks so much for visiting my page! I hope you take the time to check it out. I hope you follow my blog for more updates, and subscribe to my newsletter for a little extra.

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Happy Friday

Hey everybody! It’s been a very busy month for me so far, but I’m enjoying every moment of it!

I’m editing Second Time’s the Charm once more before it’s released on the 20th. The kindle edition is available for pre-order now. I hope you’ll put the launch party in your calendar for a chance to win prizes!

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I am starting a new novel and plotting another! No details at the moment, except that one will be adult fiction and the other young adult. I am thoroughly enjoying both plots and can’t wait to finish the first drafts so I can start sharing more with you!

I’m beta reading a really great book for a friend, and as soon as he figures out a release date, I’ll let you know how to purchase.

I have had two short stories released in anthologies this month. “Collapse” can be found in BlackHearts Anthology, and “Southern Kisses” is published in the anthology Flashpoint. I hope you get a chance to check them both out and let me know what you think.

So that’s three releases for me this month, and one scheduled for next month. Between the writing and the editing, I’m staying pretty busy. I’m going to feel pretty unproductive come May.

Thank you for visiting my page, and I hope you have an amazing weekend.

Author Interview – JM Ames

Today’s author interview will be with the wonderful JM Ames. Each of his stories are different in genre and plot, but his unique writing voice remains the same. From the first story I read by him, I was a fan. He’s one of my favorite writers, and I’m honored to call him a friend. Now to the good stuff!
What is the first book that made you cry?
Beautiful Joe’s Paradise by Marshall Saunders

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Both – same with low self-esteem. You should have doubts, you should assume the worst, that your MS will get rejected – but you should move forward anyway. Write until you cannot look at it anymore. Get it in front of as many Beta Readers as you can. Submit to every publisher that fits the genre. Expect a 98% rejection rate, but don’t let it stop you. You don’t want to be overconfident, or the rug will be pulled out from you pretty quickly, and unexpected falls always hurt the most. Cockiness doesn’t sell books either. Be humble, be grounded, be confident.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Sure, but it may hamper you a bit. Emotions are a big part of connecting with the reader, but if you excel in all other areas (senses, plot, believable characters, etc) you may succeed. I find it hard to believe anyone does not feel emotions strongly. Maybe they are buried, maybe your armor is so thick you cannot expose your heart – but the best writing will come when you do.

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
The best example I can think of is Stieg Larsson, author of the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series. The first book in that series has a very difficult beginning. The first couple hundred pages bored me to death, but I stuck with it as others told me once it gets going, it is great. And they were right.
Another one would be Shakespeare. As a teenager in high school, being forced to read his works (in Olde English no less) was very tiresome. A few years later, I fell in love with his works, as I had the chance to read many more of them.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Fourth grade was when I learned the hard way that words CAN hurt you, if you let them. I also that year discovered the power of comebacks (to save face) and humor (to dodge confrontations).

What does literary success look like to you?
Being able to write full-time while still supporting my family. I’ve no need to be rich or famous.

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, which would you rather spend the day with, and what would you do?
It would be cheating to say Max, the canine narrator of ‘The Last Ride’ (in A Journey of Words) as that story is nonfiction. Probably Ajir, the mining Minotaur in ‘The Snow Bride’ (in Mirrors & Thorns). He’s a Work Hard, Play Hard kind of fellow that I can relate to in that way.


What’s your favorite color?
Forest Green.

What’s your favorite food?
Extra Sharp Cheddar. This is why I’m not skinny.

What is your favorite TV show?
I hate to conform to what is popular, but right now it is Game of Thrones. Love the books, so happy when the show came to be.

Ideal date night?
Should start at the beach. A walk on the sand, along the pier. Ending at a nice, long, candle-lit gourmet meal, complete with red wine of some kind. Conversation is essential. The most important things in relationships are communication, compatibility and trust.

Are you a morning person or a night person?
Night, by light-years!

Where do you get your ideas?
The one thing I never have a shortage of is ideas. They just pop in – sometimes by an event or scene I see, or a song, or a writing prompt. Sometimes they just appear in my head. It might be just a scene or vague plot or distinct character. Once it just popped in my head in the shower, fully formed. I find the ones that occur naturally end up being the most fruitful.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Women have historically been shortchanged in our society, and unfortunately even today are not quite treated equally. While I can see and understand that, it is from an outsider’s perspective. I’ve not been in that position, so I don’t quite know what it is like. The same can be said for other female-only experiences. The entire birthing lifecycle, from sex as a female, to pregnancy and having a new life form inside you, to birth, to nursing. I will never know what that is like from the mother’s perspective. Aside from those things, people are people.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I’ve already given up most of the things I can. My family always comes first. That includes paying the bills, which means keeping the Day Job. I rarely watch TV or movies these days, and I can’t remember the last time I played a video game or did anything just for my own enjoyment. If I am not working or doing other family obligations, I am writing. I wish I could give up more.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I would have used more of my spare time writing, that way I wouldn’t be a brand-new writer at 40. Aside from that, nothing. I think a very important part of being a good writer is life experience. I definitely did a lot of wild and unconventional things as a youth, and I regret none of it. It all made me who I am today, and gave me a wealth of experiences from which I can draw to make stories.

Music or silence?
Music before, silence during. Music I find very inspiring, but I enjoy it so much it distracts me from writing. For that, I require silence.

If a fan wanted to send you mail, where can they send to?
JMAmesAuthor@gmail.com

How did you begin writing?
I can remember writing my first story at about five or six. I tinkered with it for most of my life, but never took it seriously until January of 2016. I was forty years old, and recent personal events really had me thinking about mortality, and how we never know how many days we have left. A friend of mine had asked me what the one thing is I wish I was doing that I wasn’t. I said “writing.” He asked why I wasn’t, and I had a handful of excuses, which were really nothings. All these things spurred me to start. I’ve had the idea for my planned series Destiny Reborn for decades now. Since I want this to someday be my crown Jewel, I decided to cut my teeth writing shorter works. Which is where I am at now.

Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events?
Whenever I can, yes!

Any events coming up?
Yes. I will be joining my anthology-mates in a signing of Beach Reads 2: Lost and Found, the anthology containing my short “Blind” in or around May, 2018, at the Laguna Beach Books bookstore, oddly enough in Laguna Beach, CA.

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a Brazilian environmental horror short tentatively titled ‘Tatu-Bola!.’
Here is an excerpt, if you want it 😛

Tatu-Bola
“Adalgisa burst through the jungle and stumbled onto a brown-stained beach. Her wild eyes blinked at the churning sea of fetid cacao that the Atlantic had become. Acrid vapors that wafted from it seared her eyes and nose. Bitter bile rose and burned her throat. Sweat and blood mingled and trickled into her eyes. Every panting breath fanned the fire that raged in her lungs. Her legs trembled from the exertion of her frantic marathon through the thick foliage. Her entire body felt aflame.
She screamed as the trees behind her snapped and crashed to the Earth. The ground shook as it approached. She sprinted left, to the north.
Maybe I can make it to Mucuri, she thought. Maybe I’ll be safe there.
Her big toe cracked to the side as she tripped on something stiff. Lungs emptied of air as her chest slammed to the ground. Adalgisa lifted her head to find herself face-to-face with the rotted remains of an over-sized sea turtle. Empty eye sockets stared back at her; its beak hung crookedly agape.
She scrambled to her knees, but froze when an immense shadow blocked the setting sun’s light.
No other creature was close enough to hear her cries of agony cut short with a gurgled crunch.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have a completed flash fiction story called ‘Thankful’ out on the market now for a publisher – A young man working retail on the eve of Black Friday experiences the real world has a string of bad luck.Thankful
“This obese woman, with the fatally aromatic halitosis, is screeching in my face about the price being off by a bank-breaking fifty cents. Her vile spittle mists my glasses. The vapid lady behind her is on her smart-phone, chattering a thousand miles an hour in some foreign language. Her snot-nosed brat pilfers candy from the shelf, putting half-eaten chocolates back before grabbing more to stuff in his face. The snakish line of mindless sheeple is reminiscent of the cars jockeying for gas back in the seventies. Today we are to express thanks for our loved ones and our cherished possessions, but these lobotomized lemmings practically eviscerate each other to get the latest, shiniest must-haves at a slightly reduced price. It isn’t Friday quite yet, but the Blackness is already here.”

 

I am wrapping up a few shorts already mostly completed before moving on to longer works:

‘Not Yet Dark’ – When his four-year-old daughter is brutally slain before him, a father goes to extreme lengths for vengeance.Not Yet Dark
“When I found my daughter in the still-smoking rubble, her left leg was missing. Nothing but shredded ribbons of bloodied flesh and a shattered stump of bone remained.
Agonized screams pierced the air all around me, but I barely heard them. Dust and smoke stole the air from my lungs, but I hardly noticed. All my attention was on her; nothing else mattered. I lifted her with care, brushed her silky black hair behind an ear, and kissed her forehead.
“You’re fine, it’s going to be okay,” I lied, trying my best to smile.”

‘Waves’- When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Marcia lost her father. She spent the next four years trying to honor his memory. Waves“She heard the booms before she crested the hill and witnessed hell in paradise – the harbor was burning. The great battleships were aflame; holes ripped in their sides, like gaping wounds of giant sea beasts after a long, bloody battle. Black columns of smoke pierced the sky. Sailors scrambled around the docks, like frenzied ants whose hill has been kicked. Distant cries of anguish and anger swirled together and washed up the hill. Her hope receded as the certainty of Jack’s death seeped into her heart. Her knees buckled and she collapsed in a sobbing heap.”

‘The Californian’ – A bomb scare at LAX during her layover unexpectedly puts Cecile in an overnight stay at the run-down The Californian hotel. Unfortunately, her room is already occupied…

The Californian“A soft thud from the bathroom banished all thoughts from her head. She was on her feet almost immediately, ears straining. A nearly inaudible hiss of something sliding along the bathroom floor raised goose bumps on her arms and hairs on the back of her neck. Her bladder threatened to release the pressure that had been building since the flight.
Cecile grabbed a lamp from the bedside table and crept to the bathroom door. Her wobbly knees threatened to buckle. She pressed her lips tight to smother the chattering of her teeth. As she was almost upon it, she heard the shower curtain being pulled open. Her insides filled with ice water, and she yelped in fright before she could stop herself.”

‘Phil’ – Melissa Brown’s struggling Beauty Salon has a change of fortune once a fate-changing rhododendron is given to her by a mysterious man.

Phil

““I’m sorry, you sell philodendrons? I don’t see any plants here except that.” she said, pointing behind him to a small bamboo plant that shared a folding table with a waving cat figurine, an open box of cigarettes, and a single business card.
The elderly man shook his head almost imperceptibly. “Bamboo not for sale. ‘Dendron for sale, fifty dollar. I deliver to you. Very special deal for you today. Very special ‘dendron. It what you need.” he winked.”

‘Letters’ – An antique file cabinet purchased from an estate sale contains a series of letters detailing a tragic WWII-era love story.

Letters
“I’ve written you more times than I can count, every letter crumpled and tossed in the general direction of the wastebasket in the corner. There’s no point in sending them when they all boil down to “I’m sorry, I miss you.” If reading those words gouged holes in your heart anywhere near as deep as the wounds writing them ripped into mine, sending these letters would be just another selfish act on my part. I think you’ve had enough of those.”

‘Ursa Major’ – My first novel. A middle aged man struggles to make sense of the sudden deaths and disappearances of all his childhood friends. In the process, he pieces together his own broken past, and discovers something more terrifying than he thought possible.
No quotes or images ready at this time.

‘Destiny Reborn’ – A 5-novel series. A band of villagers embark on a quest to unravel the history behind an ancient artifact they’ve discovered. When they finally get the answer, and even bigger mystery opens up. Each book puts the ever-changing cast on a new adventure across a new land, until they find the final piece of the puzzle, and the history of their world is revealed.
No quotes or images ready at this time.

Where can we find more of your work?28740915_176026996517538_367035532_n
You can see my current publications here: https://jm-ames.com/published-work/
… and my upcoming publications here: https://jm-ames.com/coming-soon/ 

 

 

A Salute to Kate Chopin

If you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month! We get to learn and discover women of the past who have worked their behinds off to get us where we are today. Things may not be as equal as we’d like, but they most certainly are better than they were, and we owe it to the brave, strong, intelligent women of the past.

In this post, I’d like to talk about my favorite author of all time, Kate Chopin. She was a revolutionary. This incredibly wonderful writer was condemned for being a woman and daring to write such “vulgar” stories. Her work doesn’t praise men, but instead enlightens women, and in the 1890s, her writing was considered morally wrong. I can’t help but think of how proud she would be if she could see the empowerment she has given women with her writing.

I remember reading The Awakening in high school, and so many people questioned the morals of the main character, Edna Pontellier, and even Chopin herself. I however, found the character to be justified her actions and beliefs. If you haven’t read it, you should, and I apologize for spoiling. Edna wasn’t in love with her husband, who constantly left her lonely while he went out on the town. She was tired of taking care of her two sons who treated her with disrespect. She wanted freedom. Freedom to love and to be herself without having to take care of everyone, all the time. They called her a cheater when she fell in love with someone else, but who could blame her when it was the first bit of affection she had been shown in years? When she insisted her children didn’t need her constant attention and she was more than a mother, people were appalled, in and out of the novel, even in today’s society. But she persevered. I won’t go on, because I don’t want to spoil the very dramatic ending, so pick up a copy and read for yourself.

Chopin made her female characters every bit as human as a man. She gave them very similar qualities, human emotions, human hormones. Her women had affairs, some were lesbian (though I’m not sure if that was ever confirmed or just my theory). They weren’t just wives and mothers, but women with passion and drive. Women who felt oppressed by their husbands because it was their job to stay home with the children.

Kate Chopin was the first writer who gave me a passion for writing. I had always written stories and thought about writing as a profession, but didn’t realize that’s all I wanted to become until Chopin. JK Rowling made me wish I could build magical worlds, Kate Chopin gave me a drive to change humanity’s line of thinking with what I wrote. Good writing makes you think. Great writing makes you dream.

Though she died over a hundred years ago, I want to thank her for changing my life and molding me into the woman I am today. I’d have never known about this amazing writer if not for my English teacher, Carol Gilman, who introduced me to one of the greatest novels of all time, so a huge thank you to her, as well.